tonight on "nightline," saying good-bye. she was a political spouse who became something more. a beloved activist and author. a veteran of dramatic highs and lows. elizabeth edwards succumbed today of cancer and we have her story. the lost interview. beatles legend john lennon was assassinated 30 years ago tomorrow. but days before, he gave one final interview, never heard before, until tonight on "nightline." and, done deal. president obama spokes a rare flash of emotion defending his tax compromise with republicans. >> take a tally. look at what i promised during
the campaign. >> but how will it affect your bottom line? we have the details. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," december 7th, 2010. >> good evening, everyone, i'm bill weir. and today, the nation lost an inspirational figure. a woman who overcame public and private adversity to communicate a gospel of resilience, as her last book was called. the daughter of a navy boot lot, she was born in florida 61-year-olds ago, went to law school and met the younger man who would change her life. tonight, cynthia mcfadden remembers elizabeth edwards. >> reporter: this was the moment america really saw what elizabeth edwards was made of. >> we're going to always look for the silver lining. it is who we are as people. >> reporter: it was march 2007, standing next to her husband, john, taking a break from his presidential run to announce the
worst kind of news. her breast cancer, first diagnosed three years earlier, had returned. but john and elizabeth vowed to continue the grueling campaign, noahing that sooner or later, the illness would take her life. as she told me right after her cancer reoccurrence. >> it's not a question of just surviving or dying. there's living with cancer. and those of us living with cancer want full lives and, look, we can have them. >> reporter: in the months that followed, elizabeth edwards achieved an almost iconic status for her stoic grace. her popularity a huge boone to her husband's political hopes. was john being fair to her by staying in the race? was their determination mutual? >> i'm glad to introduce you to john edwards. >> reporter: was it the right thing for the family? you have two little kids who you
know you're not going to be seeing as much if you were not in the process of running for president. >> a lot of the discussions we have had since the diagnosis is a continuation of a conversation that we started when we were deciding to run. we didn't just think, oh, yeah, you know, we might not see the children a lot, it occurs to us now. it occurred to us then. >> reporter: but edwards was a fighter. in fact, some might say her life was a master class on overcoming adversity. she met her famously handsome and charismatic husband john when they were both law students at the university of north carolina. while he went on to become a renowned trial attorney, she built a successful law career in her own right. they had two children, daughter cate and son wade. but then, in 1996, their boy died in a freak car accident. wade was just 16. >> we made a decision when wade died about how we wanted to
spend the rest of our lives. when we made that decision, it was facing our mortality. people think, well, you're facing that, how could you make this choice? we say, we didn't make the choice in 2007. we made this choice in 1997. >> reporter: cate edwards, now 28, joined us for our interview. i want to read you something from your mother's book and get your reaction about your role in the family. she writes, "cate busied herself with making our lives easier, caring for john and me. could she bring us dinner? did we want to play a game? want to walk down to the creek? how many times, then and now, i have thought of the line from isaiah and the little child shall lead them. for we were led by cate, reminded of joy by cate. and blessed with cate." >> well, i mean, i think that's entirely too generous, but -- >> see what i mean? >> reporter: spurred on by their son's tragic death, john edwards ran for the senate.
and in a me youric rise, by 2004, was chosen by john kerry for vice president. by then, they had two young children, emma claire and jack. >> we didn't start fighting for you when this campaign began and we won't stop fighting for you when this campaign ends. >> reporter: the day they lost, they learned elizabeth had breast cancer. >> i'm a mother, and so the first thing i thought about was our children. i have a 6-year-old. and if the prognosis is ten years, i don't see him graduate high school. >> reporter: she didn't make it ten. only four. the younger children, now 12 and 10. but listen to her determination to fight, fight, fight. the statistics tell us the probabilities, right now, in this moment, and what they say is, fooichl years out, 20% survival rate. >> they don't actually say that. the american cancer society has tried to come back and stop people from saying that, because
it's not applicable to my situation. my job is to stay alive long enough for the medicine to outrun me. and i'm not going to be either unnecessarily buoyed or unnecessarily depressed by someone else's experience. i have my own fight to fight. >> reporter: and as a family, at the end of this, success will look like what? >> closer together, loving each other and elizabeth as healthy as she can be. >> can't argue with that. >> reporter: but sadly, as the nation saw in spectacularly public detail, that would not come to pass. just a few months after we sat down with her, rumors of john edwar edwards' infidel till were simmering, and eventually would boil over. pictures surfaced of edwards holding a child, believed to be his daughter with a former campaign staffer. in 2008, john edwards sat down with my colleague bob woodruff for "nightline." >> did you have an affair with miss hunter? >> in 2006, two years ago, i
made a very serious mistake. a mistake that i am responsible for and no one else. in 2006, i told elizabeth about the mistake, asked her for her forgiveness, asked god for his forgiveness. >> reporter: were you in love with her? >> i'm in love with one woman. i've been in love with one woman for 31 years. and she is the finest human being i have ever known. and the fact that she is with me after this having happened is a testament to the kind of woman and kind of human being she is. there is a -- a deep and abiding love that exists between elizabeth and myself. >> reporter: how could you have done this? >> first of all, it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer. it's no excuse in any possible way for what happened. >> reporter: though edwards admitted to the affair, he swore
the baby was not his. >> reporter: does elizabeth think this is possibly your baby? >> no. of course not. >> reporter: no way? >> no. she knows it's not. >> reporter: how does she know, though? >> the same reason i know. it's not possible. >> reporter: but that would turn out to be a lie. last year, edwards admitted he was, in fact, the father. his political career over, he and elizabeth formally separated. the image of the perfect political partnership shattered forever. but in tend, elizabeth edwards would not let the dark days of her marriage define her. she wrote another book, fittingly called "resilience" and became a passionate advocate for cancer survivors and health care for all. >> senator mccain and i have something in common, and that is, neither one of us would be insured under his health care plan. >> reporter: she died today at home at age 61, surrounded by her friends, her children, and even john. still, her husband.
but tonight, it is cate, once the little child who led her mother out of grief, who must now be there to lead her family forward. what would you want to see her do? >> all i care about her being is happy. if something happens to me, honestly, if something happens to john and to me, you know, under our will, she has two kids. it actually gives me great confidence as i go through this to know that standing behind john and me is this splendid woman. >> what an incredible role model to mothers. thanks to cynthia mcfadden for that report. and when we come back, an incredible lost recording. john lennon's final interview, taped by "rolling stone" magazine just days before his murder. [ male announcer ] how can rice production in india
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30 years ago this week, john lennon gave the last interview of his life to "rolling stone." the audio tapes, long forgotten in a closet, have never before heard by the public until now, and they reveal a very different man than the beatle who made a planet of young girls scream. while vulnerable and conflicted, he was happier than he'd ever been. but three days later came mark david chapman's bullets, and howard cosell's chilling
announcement on monday night football. >> the most famous of perhaps all the beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to roosevelt hospital, dead on arrival. ♪ >> reporter: of all the people who suffered those first couple of days, none had it worse than wife yoko and son sean. ♪ our life together is so precious ♪ >> reporter: double fantasy had just come out and spun as a constant tribute, so they heard his voice ever where. but for the first time in the little boy's life, dad was gone. ♪ people say i'm crazy ♪ doing what i'm doing >> reporter: the newly released "watching the wheels" video shows how the two got along, after john dropped out of music to raid him. >> in 1975, the most famous musician in the world left to
become a househusband. and for five years, made bread every day, he had a nanny, but he was there for sean. >> reporter: and yet as john told "rolling stone," the original stay at home dad wondered if he was giving enough. >> i'm not the greatest dad on earth. i'm doing my best. but i'm a very irritable guy and i get very depressed. i'm still up and down. and he's had to deal with that, too, you know. withdrawing from him and then giving and then withdrawing and giving. and it -- i don't know how much it will affect him in later life, but i was physically, there, so, write a song about him, i would have done, well, more, well, better for him, to spend the time i wrote the [ bleep ] song actually playing ball, the hardest thing for me to do is play. i can do everything else. >> you can't play? >> play, i can't. >> reporter: he was equally conflicted about the music industry, admitting that after finishing his album in '75, he
considered quitting all together. >> i started spieling at the end of "just because," and i was saying, so we sea farewell. and a little thing in the back of my mind was saying, are you really saying farewell? and i hadn't thought of it then. and i was still separated from yoko and still hadn't had the baby. but i was saying, where you saying farewell? >> reporter: but the family years gave him a whole new perspective. critics dismissed his work on "double fantasy" as middle of the road. but sharing the album song for song with his wife, he was letting them know he didn't care. >> sitting back there, waiting for illusions that they've created about artists, whether it be nick jagger, whoever is favorite at the moment, they only like people when they're on the way up. when they're up there, they got nothing else to do. but they like to imagine they create and break people. they don't.
but they only like people on the way up. i cannot be on the way up again, and i cannot be 25 again. i cannot be what i was ten years ago. i cannot be what i was five minutes ago. >> reporter: i can't think of a current pop star who would be that vulnerable in front of cameras or reporters today. >> it doesn't really exist. but john is -- john is a messy guy. and that's what i love about him. that's what millions of people love about him. and he's deeply profoundly honest and direct. ♪ and my heart was beating fast ♪ >> reporter: as further proof of that, there's this, for critics and fans yearning for another sergeant yepper. >> what they want is dead here roars. and i'm not interesting in being a dead [ bleep ] hero. >> reporter: chapman was sane, had missed, if john lennon was still living, what do you think he'd be like? what kind of music do you think
he would have given us in those 30 years? >> oh, i think it would have been great. he would have just continued to write and produce and experiment. >> reporter: how do you think his politics would play in the age of the tea party and barack obama? >> i wish he were here, speaking out. we need more choices like him, you know? enough with this compromise, he would have said. we just -- try to do what's right and say what's right. >> they pick a president, they put him up there and then they set fire to him because he couldn't solve their problems, because they're always looking for somebody else to provide for them. >> reporter: they still resonate, these 30-year-old words from a 40-year-old man who had seen it all. and finally found himself. >> i used to think that the world was doing it to me and that the world owed me something and that the -- either the conservatives or the socialists or the communists were doing
something to me, and when you're a teeny-bopper, that's what you think. i'm 40 now, i don't think that anymore, because i found out it doesn't [ bleep ] work. i am part of them. there's no separation. we're all one. give people a chance, not shoot people for peace. all you need is love. i believe it. it's damn hard, you know. but i absolutely believe it. >> there is so much more of john's last interview in the new "rolling stone" that hits newsstands on friday or visit the "nightline" facebook page at abcnews.com. up next, it is male tieal t. we held south for a lesson from mike lata, the sultan of succotash. [ male announcer ] learn about a free trial offer from abilify. if you're taking an antidepressant and still feel depressed, one option your doctor may consider is adding abilify. abilify treats depression in adults when added to an antidepressant.
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♪and ask your doctor ♪ you can find your feet and you can find your way ♪ ♪ you can find yourself in bed at the end of the day ♪ ♪ you can find some fun on a tropical isthmus ♪ ♪but you'll never find my... ♪ you can find it in your heart to be patient with me ♪ ♪ you can find a new star for the top of the tree ♪ ♪ i don't mean to be coy and i don't mean to be vicious ♪ ♪ but you'll never find my christmas ♪
>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> the name of chef mike lata's restaurant in south carolina says it all. fig, which stands for food is good. lata, the winner of last year's james beer award for best chef in the southeast has a reputation for using only local ingredients and making it taste so good it will buckle your knees. here is tonight's plate list. >> notoriously, i'm a hands on chef and my peers will tell you the same thing, i have a hard time letting go. i think wakes up and enjoying what you do is the most important thing. it's nice to do what you love.
we have peppers, some fennel, some celery and red onion. to that mixture, we're going to add roasted tomatoes, pine nuts and garlic. red win vinegar. more olive oil and we have sauteed eggplant that we diced up and sauteed quickly. a little touch of tomato sauce. so now you can see the vegetables have softened. perfect. when i was growing up, i was a latch-key kid for the most part. and so i had a little repertoire of things i would make for myself, i was a big pancake fan. loved pork chops, shake and back. i understood at one point that if i took the pork chop out of the pan, wiped it out, put fresh oil into it and i could get crispy on both sides, not just the one. it became kind of messy but the outcome was something i was very proud of. now, we have a piece of sword
fish. place it on the grill. to finish the dish, we stir in some fresh herbs, basil and parsley. we take the finished sword fish, place it on top. we have some sauteed mushrooms. and that's it. when i was 14, i started, you know, working at a little counter service hamburger stand. i would keep my eye on the kitchen guys and i would say to myself, i can relate to those guys. i, for some reason, i'm just drawn to the kitchen. and they were back there, and they were angry all the time and they wore their bandanas and there was some element of piracy to that whole culture back there. i really feel like that's my place. and i never looked back. pork trotter is basically the pig's foot. we braised it, boned it. we mixed it with herbs and
spices. we're painting it with dijon mustard. rolling it in fresh bread crumbs and then putting it into a saute pan and cook it through. we all have a point in this business where you have to have a conversation with yourself. at the end of the night, to let it all go. every single bit of it. that feeling that you have of anger, defeat, intensity, adrenaline, is not going to help anybody at that point, including yourself. right now, we have some white corn, butter peas and lady peas all mixed with spring onions. we made a vinegarette. fresh dill, tarragon. when the trotter is done, we take it off the fire. we cook these farm eggs, sunny side up. we place it on top. and then from here to the salad.
and voila. it's fun just to stand back and inspire the young cooks to help get the sear just right on the fish or the texture on the, you know, puree just right. and to know when the customer gets it and you know when it's right and you know when it's almost right. you know when it's acceptable and when it's not. and when it's on the highest side of that scale, when it's perfect, that is a feeling. that, to this day, gets me very fired up. back in the kitchen, we do it differently. mustard. press it together. that's how you do trotter. >> if you're cooking is getting noticed in south carolina, you're doing something right. when we come back, president obama calls out his critics. first, jimmy kimmel. >> jimmy: thanks bill. tonight, dan aykroyd, brian austin green, music from brad and donald trump's hair comes to life. it's a christmas miracle. jk jk is next.
when i saw all the jobs disappearing, i knew i needed to find a better way to support my daughter. at age forty, greg flowers went back to school. i got a job as a computer applications engineer. but now some in washington want regulations restricting access to career colleges and universities, denying opportunity to millions of people like greg, letting government decide who can go to college. it's my education, my job, it should be my choice. don't let washington get in the way.